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Statement by Ambassador Wang Yingfan, Permanent Representative of China to the UN, at the Security Council Open Debate on the Review of the Report of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Armed Conflict
(21 June 2001)

2001/06/21

Mr. President,

The Chinese Delegation welcomes you to chair this important open debate of the Security Council. I would also like to express my appreciation to the Secretary-General for his report and Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette for her statement. The Secretary-General's report, which is very comprehensive in content and provides a detailed analysis of the role of the UN in the prevention of armed conflict, is a good basis for reviews and related actions by the Council, the General Assembly and other UN bodies. The report reaffirms the important principles, such as "United Nations efforts in conflict prevention must be in conformity with the purposes and principles of the Charter" and "To be successful, the United Nations must have the consent and support of the Government concerned and other key national actors", which represent the basic norms to be followed by the UN in conflict prevention. I am confident that by reviewing the report, Member States will acquire a better understanding of the role of the UN in the prevention of armed conflict.

Mr. President,

Armed conflicts in today's world have their complex economic, social, historical, religious and other root causes. And inter-tribal and territorial disputes left over by colonialism should not be neglected, either. Therefore a conflict prevention strategy must be case-specific and address problems and their root causes all together. Different preventive measures should be adopted for different regions, different countries and different cases.

The post-Cold War era has witnessed an increase of internal armed conflict. And quite often, internal conflict occurs between different ethnic groups, either in the Middle East, the Balkans, or in the Great Lake region of Africa, some even complicated by disputes between different religions. The majority of the world's countries are multi-ethnic and multi-religious. Therefore, ethnic solidarity and harmony as well as the equality and co-existence of different religions constitute a fundamental condition for social stability and development. The intensification of disputes and even conflicts between ethnic groups and religious disputes will only lead to disturbances in the national or regional situation as well as social and economic backwardness. From the perspective of conflict prevention, vigorous efforts should be promote ethnic equality, harmony and mutual benefit and in particular to safeguard the equal status and rights of participation of ethnic minorities in political, economic, cultural and other activities. Necessary favorable policies should made be adopted for them to encourage their participation in the rule of the country. Mutual respect, understanding and reconciliation among religions should be promoted on the basis of the freedom of religious beliefs.

The international community is a big family of different countries. Democratization in state-to-state relations is, therefore, of great importance to the prevention of armed conflict. The principles of mutual respect for state sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence should be strictly observed in international relations, as countries vary in social system, ideology, values, religious beliefs and so on. The United Nations should play an important role in the promotion of the democratization of international relations. Armed conflicts in the Middle East, the Balkans, the Great Lake region of Africa and other countries and regions could be stopped as early as possible and new conflicts could be prevented if all sides concerned could really follow the basic norms guiding state-to-state relations.

Recently, the heads of state of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan met at Shanghai where they established the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The summit initiated a new regional cooperation model featuring joint sponsorship by countries, big and small, priority on security and mutually beneficial cooperation and cultivated the Shanghai spirit featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation between states, respect for the diversity of civilization and common development. It represents an important effort in establishing a mechanism of regional armed conflict prevention and curbing factors undermining regional security such as terrorism, separatism and extremism.

Mr. President,

The ongoing warfare and armed conflict in some countries and regions are causing an enormous loss of lives and property for people there. Although the role and capacity of United Nations has its own limitations, as the Secretary-General has pointed out in the report, preventing armed conflict represents an important orientation in the field of maintaining international peace and security as well as an important task of the United Nations. China is willing to make its own contribution, together with other Member States, to strengthening the capacity of the United Nations for the prevention of armed conflicts.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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